It was supposed to be temporary. A temporary affair that would last until he was tired of her. And Patrick was sure that he would get tired of her. Despite the fact that whatever he shared with Robin was different than everything that had come before, he assumed that once he’d charmed her into bed, he’d only want to stay there for two, three weeks top.
Three weeks had turned into a month and without realizing it, a month turned into three. And pretty soon, everything about his life was different. He flirted less and he didn’t even realize that he hadn’t dated anyone else since the first time he’d slept with Robin. It didn’t even register that there was no one else that even remotely interested him on that level.
He didn’t notice that how much time he was spending in her apartment–even after she’d cleared first one drawer for his things and then two. It didn’t occur to him that he had more clothing at Robin’s apartment than in his hotel room and when he’d gotten his monthly hotel bill in September, he’d laughed at the fact that he’d not charged one extra expense to his room. He joked that he might as well move in and save money all together.
And eventually, that’s what happened, though neither of them commented on that fact when Patrick quietly gave his room up at the hotel in early October and his luggage joined hers in the hall closet or that they’d bought a second dresser and put it in her bedroom.
And when they’d resigned her lease and added his name, he remarked it made sense since he spent so much time at the apartment, he should be helping her out with the expenses. He didn’t call it living together and neither did she. They ignored the obvious to first the amusement of their family and friends and then to their dismay.
He didn’t really think about the fact that he wasn’t tired of her. And it more than the sex–though that was the best he’d ever had in his life. It was the after part of it. The waking up in the morning and arguing who would make the first pot of coffee and who would get the shower first. It was the way they each brought their work home–often doing their research together. It was the way she’d try to steal the remote when he wanted to watch hockey and she’d hide it until he kissed the location out of her.
He could spend an hour just watching her read a medical journal and enjoy the way her nose would wrinkle when she read something she didn’t like and the way the corner of her mouth would curve when she read something she agreed with.
He could ignore the fact that they had somehow entered an exclusive and committed relationship without intending to. And he could ignore that they’d been living together, even four months after he’d given up the hotel room. He could ignore all that because he couldn’t remember the last time life had felt this right. He had his career, which was going better than he could ever expected, he had his father, he even had a few friends. And he had this beautiful, intelligent and captivating woman that stimulated him, challenged him inside and outside the bedroom.
But something happened just after anniversary of the death of Dr. Tony Jones, which was commemorated in a very sweet memorial. He’d been called in from the service for a tricky surgery–a risky surgery to be more exact and it’d been a roaring success. He’d become one of only five surgeons worldwide to complete the surgery without losing the patient on the table and one of only three surgeons who didn’t lose the patient at all.
Job offers poured in from around the world and Patrick could no longer avoid placing a label on his life with Robin. He was being offered lucrative positions in hospitals he’d only dreamed of and he could basically write his ticket at any of them.
But none of the positions were in Port Charles and he knew if he wanted his career to continue ascending, he couldn’t stay at General Hospital. GH had a decent reputation but if he stayed, his career would be stalled.
He was studying the job offers when Robin came home from her shift and she sat across from him silently as he read through them a fifth time.
“The one from Toronto looks good,” she said after a long moment. “They’re offering you a lot of money and a really good position in the department.” A weak smile spread across her face. “And you know how you love hockey.”
“I was looking at the one at Columbia University Hospital.”
“In New York,” Robin nodded. “You could probably even get a place in your old neighborhood.”
New York was closer to Port Charles than any of the other offers, though if Patrick were asked, he’d never admit that’s why he was closer to taking that one than any of the others. Because then he’d have to admit that New York was close enough that Robin might consider going with him. Because then she’d still be close to her family.
“And you’d be close to your dad,” Robin continued. She bit her lip and looked around the apartment. His basketball was next to the front door, his sneakers tossed in front of the couch where he’d kicked them off after a game in the park the day before. It drove her crazy when he did that.
They had been creating a life together but how much of a life could it have been if neither of them were willing to admit it? It was better this way, better that Patrick would leave for his career because she didn’t think she could have survived him leaving on his own accord.
“And the research they do there is incredible,” Patrick found himself saying. “They do a lot of studies there, more than most of these other hospitals.”
“Mmm…” Robin nodded. “They were one of the hospitals I applied to get my grant for my drug therapy. They agreed but the hospital in Paris gave me more money.”
He didn’t look up at her and made sure to keep his eyes on the table in front of him as he spoke. “You should, ah, you should apply again.”
Robin blinked, but that was only reaction that showed physically. Inside her heart was racing and she was sure the palms of her hand were a little damp. “Are you…are you asking me to go with you?”
Patrick exhaled sharply and stood. He stalked towards the windows and yanked the curtains open to stare moodily out at the harbor. “I can’t–I can’t not accept any of these offers, Robin.”
“I know that,” Robin murmured, somewhat fascinated at his reaction to her question.
“It’s not that I don’t want to work at GH,” Patrick continued as if she hadn’t spoken. “But you know what my career means to me–”
“Patrick…” Robin stood and crossed to him. She put a hand on his chest and looked up at him with a tremulous smile. “Do you have any idea how proud I am of you? You’re a brilliant surgeon and it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world realized that.”
“Of course you have to take one of these jobs,” Robin said. “If you had even thought about staying in Port Charles, I would have smacked you.” She licked her lips. “But I–I mean, we’ve–” She huffed impatiently. “Look, we’ve been dancing around this for months and I think–we can’t do that anymore.”
“I know.” He licked his bottom lip. “Robin, we’ve been…well it’s been…” He dragged a hand through his hair. Why was this so hard to say? Why couldn’t he make the words come out? “Look, we’re basically living together…”
“Patrick, we’re not basically doing anything. We’re living together,” Robin laughed nervously. “Your name is on my lease, too.”
“Right, yeah.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “And I think–I mean we’re doing okay, right?”
Her lips curved into an amused smile. He was so adorable when he was flustered. “Yeah, we’re doing okay.”
“So–I mean, I don’t–I know you want to be close to your family. I get that. I kinda want to be close to my dad. So you know, New York is a good idea. It’s an hour by train and if there was an emergency, we could be back quickly–”
“Patrick,” Robin interrupted softly. “Are you asking me to go with you?”
“Ah, I mean if I go to New York, yeah–”
“No, Patrick,” Robin shook her head. “Are you asking me to go with you wherever you decide to take the job?”
He exhaled slowly and met her eyes…and saw her answer. “Will you go with me, no matter where I take the job?”
“Yes, I will go with you,” she replied softly. She leaned up and brushed her lips over his.
“But what about your job, your family?” Patrick said. He pulled back. “You have a career, too and it’s important to you and it’s important to me–”
“I can do my research pretty much anywhere.” Robin’s smiled deepened into a smirk. “And you know, you’re not the only one who gets job offers.” She crossed to her desk in the corner of the room and withdrew a stack of envelopes. “Let’s see how many match and pick where we want to live.”